LINZ, Austria – Daren Frankel earned a silver medal at the U-23 World Rowing Championships over the weekend, rowing for Team USA in the men’s eight.
One of four United States boats to earn medals at the regatta, the men’s eight was second to New Zealand in the final, finishing in a time of 5:31.79 – which was 3.26 seconds behind the Kiwis who crossed first in 5:28.63. Slotted in the third seat, Frankel helped his crew to rally to the silver medal, besting bronze medalist Poland by 1.37 seconds.
"I cannot tell you fully what it was like standing up on the awards dock and having my name read out loud to the crowd," Frankel said. "It was very humbling and at the same time uplifting. I did what I knew how to do; I went out, pulled hard, and raced. Nothing compares to the experience I had this summer."
The Americans had to put work in to reach the final, needing to row through a repechage to get a chance to medal following a third-place row in the opening heats. In the rep, the US crew was last after the first 500m, but rowed to second place – within 0.84 seconds of the leaders at the three-quarter mark. In the final 500, the Americans surged past Spain, reaching the finish line first in a time of 5:44.54 and winning by a margin of 1.63 seconds.
In Sunday’s final, Team USA again found itself bringing up the field after the opening 500m, but picked off two boats in each of the next two segments to sit second after 1500m. Just 0.18 seconds ahead of Poland entering the sprint, the Americans pulled away with a quick split of 1:22.43 to secure silver.
"I am really proud of Daren for accomplishing this goal," heavyweight rowing coach Greg Myhr said. "He has been rowing for just over five years, and to reach the medal podium at an elite international event is an amazing feat. Daren is setting a new standard for what we expect from Penn rowers."
A 2013 graduate of Penn with a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Frankel earned a silver medal in his first international competition.
Additionally, a member of the women's rowing team, rising sophomore Jenna Hebert, made the grand final in her event -- quadruple sculls -- and finished fifth overall with Vespers Boat Club. Hebert rowed in Penn's varsity 8 last year as a freshman, earning all-region honors from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).
"I am really proud of what Jenna accomplished," said Penn women's rowing coach Mike Lane. "Making the A final is a huge accomplishment at that championship event. This is the first of many world championship teams for Jenna, and I cannot wait to see what she will accomplish next."
Lightweight rowing assistant coach Colin Farrell coached the lightweight men's 4- boat to the Grand Final and a sixth place row. After finishing fourth in its heat, the U.S. boat took second in its repechage to reach the Grand Final. Parker Lange rowed to the United States in the lightweight men's 4x race, finishing sixth. Jacques David rowed for Australia in the lightweight men's 2- event, finishing fifth in the Petite Final for an 11th-place overal finish out of 17 boats.
"It was very exciting to help the 4- crew to its fifth Grand FInal in United States history," Farrell said." You always hope to compete for a medal in international competition and we were in a position to do so. Obviously, we will look to keep making gains and get on the podium soon. I think for all of the competitors -- especially our Penn rowers -- this was a real eye-opening experience on what it takes to succeed at the international level and there is a real excitement level about putting in the work to become World Championships and Olympic-caliber rowers."